A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities such as verbal communication), and that illustrates or leads to an interpretation of a moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be added explicitly in a pithy maxim.
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with Aesop's name have descended to modern times through a number of sources. They continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic mediums.
The Perry Index is a widely used index of "Aesop's Fables" or "Aesopica", the fables credited to Aesop, the story-teller who lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC. Modern scholarship takes the view that Aesop probably did not compose all of the fables attributed to him;indeed, a few are known to have first been used before Aesop lived, while the first record we have of many others is from well over a millennium after his time.
William Caxton was the first to translate some of Aesops fables into English in 1484. A copy can be viewed or downloaded here>